Letter from the Mayor

From the Desk of Mayor Brad Blalock

I am proud to call Amory my home and am honored to represent this great town as its mayor. The City of Amory was founded by the Kansas City, Memphis, and Birmingham Railroad and celebrated its 125th anniversary in November 2012. Amory is a city founded in and upon a rich history and it continues to draw from such history as it progresses forward. You may ask, “Why is Amory such a great place to live, work, shop, and visit?”

We are an award winning Mississippi Main Street town. The Mississippi Main Street Association, a program we not only take part in but as members have won several awards, is a program that encourages economic development based in historic preservation.

Amory boasts great activities throughout the year. Amory Main Street hosts a variety of festivals and events. Pep Rally in the Park is held at the beginning of the school year. The Annual Chili Cook off and Fall Festivals are held in Frisco Park. Walking Open Houses are held down Main Street two to three times a year to promote small businesses and health in our citizens.

The Amory Railroad Festival has been a part of our entertainment culture since 1979 and draws crowds of around 60,000 each spring. This festival features activities for children, food, music on two different stages, crafts, and more. This four day event takes place in Frisco Park. The winner of the Miss Amory Railroad Pageant goes on to Jackson to represent our city in the Miss Mississippi Pageant each year.

The annual Walk to School Day sponsored by Mississippi Department of Transportation, City of Amory, and the Amory School System is a great way to celebrate our Safe Routes to School Projects and promote activity in youth in Amory. The Monroe County Relay for life event is held in Amory’s Frisco Park every year to promote awareness of cancer, raise funding for the American Cancer Society, and give survivors a place to celebrate their victories. The Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center hosts annual health fairs and an annual Easter Egg Hunt in Amory’s Frisco Park. The Amory High School Theater Group Spring theatrical productions are award winning and well orchestrated with many of the productions being recreated upon invitation for the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, TN.

Our businesses are varied and our industrial options are vast. The City of Amory is located on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and is home to a large Burlington Northern Santé Fe Rail yard. With water-front ports and multiple rail spurs located near both, Amory is a hub of industry and enterprise. Amory is a place where the spotlight shines an equal light on big business and local entrepreneurship. New and old are sold side by side in our local stores. Local artisans bring handmade crafts to stores on Amory Main Street where their creativity and artistry sit side by side with designer brands. Amory Main Street is home to great restaurants as well. In and around Amory you can find anything from homemade cakes and casseroles to Texas Style BBQ to Southern-style cuisine and classics.

We are a town that believes in developing for our future while holding great value in our past. Amory boasts many historical buildings and areas such as Native American burial mounds, The Windows, Frisco Park, The Amory Regional Museum, and the National Guard Old Armory. The Windows is located at 214 3rd Street North and was the First Christian Church of Amory built in 1926 and is called The Windows because of the beautiful antique stained glass windows throughout the building. It was saved from demolition by a group of people in Amory who joined forces to preserve historic buildings in the city. The Windows serves as a place of entertainment, weddings, and gatherings for people throughout North Mississippi.

Frisco Park has served as a place of enjoyment and fellowship for many years for the citizens of Amory. The large grassy areas and pavilion make it a perfect place for people to gather for weddings, festivals, celebrations, and more. The Amory Regional Museum, formerly the Gilmore Sanatorium or Hospital, now serves as a first class museum featuring art exhibits, priceless antiques, and history from around Amory and Monroe County. The Museum offers seasonal events such as day camps and outdoor family movie nights. Local artists also have a chance to exhibit their talent here beside traveling displays from The Smithsonian and Mississippi Museum of Art. National space shuttle exhibits and local history sit side by side.

The National Guard Old Armory is in the process of receiving a complete remodel so that it may serve as a civic center for the City of Amory and citizens of Monroe County. Completed in 1941, it housed weapons and equipment as well as provided space for the training of 600 to 1000 National Guard Members. After it was retired as a service center for the National Guard, it became the place to feature entertainment. Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash are just a few of the performers who have graced the stage at the National Guard Old Armory.

The citizens of Amory believe in the positive influence of activities and sports in the lives of our youth. Multiple ball fields (baseball, softball, and t-ball) are located throughout the town. Soccer fields, multiple walking tracks, two golf courses, multiple playgrounds, tennis courts, and soon a volleyball court are located in Amory. Amory has been awarded the Playful City Award for two years in a row. This distinction is nationwide and notates the time and effort we place on sports, activities, and exercise in Amory. Also, the Amory Healthy Hometown Committee and Initiative was founded to promote wellness and listen to the public in regards to what the public would like to see added to or repaired in Amory. This committee incorporated a Map of Play into the city website, and quick response (QR) codes that lead to places to play and healthy recipes will soon be located in grocery stores throughout Amory.

The Amory High School Horticulture Program features a greenhouse where plants are grown and sold to the public. The program was funded through a grant issued by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi. Students in this program participate in culinary classes and health classes. Amory is also home to a very large community garden. Citizens are encouraged to participate in this program and grow healthy foods. The Amory Food Pantry benefits from this garden by receiving produce from growers there.

Amory is home to the award winning Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center. This hospital has a state of the art Women’s Center and is constantly searching out the most non-invasive forms of surgery for patients. From the time a person checks into the hospital through recovery, GMRMC is supportive and has the tools and people to achieve any goal. It is home to the Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center Fitness Center and Rehab facility which has an indoor Olympic size swimming pool, weight training equipment, cardio fitness equipment, and offers a variety of classes. This, however, is not the only option when citizens search for avenues to stay fit. Amory is home to many fitness and exercise facilities to help our citizens stay healthy and happy.

When children play, they learn. That is the motto of the GELI Foundation. The Gilmore Early Learning Initiative is part of Amory and Monroe County’s tool kit for a brighter and healthier future generation. The program helps daycares begin the core curriculum needed for children beginning Kindergarten. It also helps with providing clothes and food to children who are in need of the basics in life. Because of these endeavors, Monroe County became the first county in the United States to obtain Excel By 5 certification. Excel By 5 certification signifies that our communities have joined forces to insure that our children are healthier and better prepared to enter kindergarten.

The City of Amory is changing and growing daily. These changes are done with reverence for our past while we develop and grow. Amory has a strong work ethic as a community and a city. Together, we can work hand in hand toward a better future.

If you live in Amory, you realize the assets and opportunities, and I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to assist with and participate in the various programs, activities, and events. Stop by a local boutique to shop or just say hello. Enjoy a sandwich or steak at your favorite local restaurant. Get outside and enjoy a ballgame with your children either by playing or watching at one of our parks. Live in and enjoy Amory for the gem that it is.

If you are not a resident of this fine city, we encourage you to visit and enjoy our town. We are a great place to live, raise a family, and enjoy life, and we welcome you to come see for yourself!